RESTAURANT REVIEW: Hunley’s
Hunley’s is in the former Our Glass and Thai Food restaurant space in the Fair Trade Center in West Ashley.
It surfaced in early September and washed ashore with the legacy of Jeff Haertel, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., who ruffled the feathers of wing nuts at Buffalo South and Jam’s Buffalo Cafe.
General Manager Mark Redmond runs the business side of the house.
For Buffalo Bills and Sabres fans, Hunley’s provides a game day gathering spot where Labatt’s Blue and Molson Canadian are poured with domestic pricing for this Northern import.
For families, children are welcome and the kitchen accommodates with a special menu as well as smaller portions from the standard menu.
Stop in on a Sunday and a Bloody Mary Bar ($3) awaits your “no huddle offense” of pepper sauces, condiments, vegetables and citrus.
Enjoy an order of wings, 10 ($8), 20 ($15), 30 ($22) that pits the recipes of Teressa Bellissimo of the Anchor Bar in Buffalo against the best of Haertel, who brought his own original seasoning and sauce blend to Hunley’s.
The wings are hot, crisp and can be ordered with a variety of flavor options and adjusted to your personal tolerance for “heat.”
Stick with tradition; select the blue cheese dressing as the calming agent. Enjoy the added crunch of carrot sticks along with the ubiquitous celery. Order a “Blue” and peruse a menu that raises the bar for tavern food. That may be the Hunley connection, “raising” that is, as linking the legend and intrigue of the Hunley submarine to this bar on Savannah Highway is a stretch.
But enjoy its ambition. The beef on weck sandwich ($10 dinner, $8 lunch) holds true to its German roots and layers tender slices of roast beef on a classic kimmelweck roll flecked with coarse salt and caraway seeds served with a side of sinus-cleansing horseradish that trumpets ancestry and marketing.
Properly dipped in a bit of au jus, Hunley’s version of this Buffalo-Rochester, N.Y., sandwich staple does not disappoint, though the beef could be pinker.
Chow down on the potato chip-crusted chicken breast ($13) blanketed with a whole-grain mustard cream sauce. Bring on the teens and college students for steaks priced between $14-$17 for filet mignon and rib-eye. Fear not the salads, where fresh, crispy greens prevail.
Marvel at bouquets of broccoli ($2.50 a la carte) that are cooked tender and bright, lacking only enough cheese sauce and warmth to melt the strands of cheddar and bring the simple to the sublime.
Be wary about the “loaded baked potato” ($3.50 a la carte). It’s steamed in its skin of aluminum foil and recklessly topped with ingredients that are best served by incorporating them into the fleshy interior of this tuber and then blasting with an oven’s high heat. The treatment with the foil results in a flaccid potato whose toppings never meld into the substantial spud.
But the kitchen of the Hunley has raised the bar for dining and drinking.
The menu pleases with bar food fried pickles ($5), wings and sandwiches stratified with house-made pimiento cheese, meats roasted in house and rolls revered with regional affections of salt and seeds.
Service is friendly and informed. Sports fans and families frequent with equal measure. Beer prevails and the wine list is thin.
And for those looking for the flavors of their western New York taste memories, the culinary sonar of Haertel’s kitchen vibrates with the right pitch.
The prices are right, the menu is tailored to local tastes. With a little tweaking in the kitchen, Hunley’s will deliver a winning season for all appetites.